Friday, December 29, 2017

Friday Fricassee


Behold this wondrous Christmas gift from my daughter Maggie (an aspiring author whose writing I love, and who has been my champion and biggest fan from Day One).  I may have cried a little when I opened this on Christmas morning.

Every word in the cloud is related to my writing journey.  She apparently spent days trying to make sure she didn't forget anything (and, of course, she forgot things, but it doesn't matter even a little).  Titles, coffee shops, character names, and anything else related to my writerly life is nestled here.  You'll see "coffee", "wine", "music", and even "Cape May" (my favorite place in the world, and therefore my favorite place to write).

If the last 12 years of my life were heart-shaped, this is what it would look like.

The support from my family over the years--and especially now that I'm on my way to my first published novel--is immeasurable.  For as important as my professional support system has been, my at-home, I-love-you-when-you're-grumpy team is equally valuable.

My mom has spoken endless words of affirmation over me through the years.

My husband bought me a new Macbook Air for Christmas (totally spoiled me, and I know it).  No more dying E-key!

My offspring have provided me with chocolate and coffee shop gifts cards, because THEY KNOW.

My sister has started bringing food over and throwing it in the freezer to relieve some of my cooking burden while I work on this revision.


And yes, I've got my first official editorial deadline, and I LOVE IT!

Well, I also hate it.  BUT MOSTLY I LOVE IT.

For years, I've trained myself to write to a deadline, and now it's paying off.  Honestly, there hasn't been a single time I haven't met my self-imposed end dates.  I've treated them as though they were imposed upon me by someone else, because I knew that some day that's what my life would be like.

And here we are!  Elayne has requested the revisions be complete by February 1, and I intend to deliver.  (Hence the food in my freezer.)  The timing couldn't be more perfect--an entire week and a half of PRACTICALLY NOTHING BUT WRITING before January's schedule kicks in on the 8th.

Well, okay.  I may be doing one or two other things, like cleaning out my closet and possibly spending a quiet New Year's Eve with some dear friends.  But mostly?  I'm writing.

And eating Christmas cookies.

More than one of my published author friends has assured me that, though the pub date feels so far away, the time will actually fly.  I'm starting to believe it!  The journey continues to be exhilarating, and I'm thankful I can share it with you.

Also, HEADS UP:  My shiny-new author web site will be launching the first week of January.  I'm VERY excited about this, and I hope you'll join me for this latest unveiling.

In the meantime, HAPPY NEW YEAR!  Thank you for celebrating with me this year; I have been so blessed by your support and good cheer.  Keep writing!  Keep believing!  You never know what 2018 may have in store.

(And Maggie?  I love you.  And some day, I'll be giving you a word cloud, in celebration of your own debut.  For real.)

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

WHAT ARE THEY UP TO NOW? Featuring Peter Adam Salomon

Today's author: PETER ADAM SALOMON



1. What role did your participation in a Miss Snark's First Victim contest or critique round play in your ultimate success as an author?

Technically I never even entered a contest or critique round. I had just ‘finished’ revising a YA Horror manuscript and was beginning to consider the whole ‘querying’ concept. I hadn’t even written a query letter at that point. All I had was a list of agents and agencies I was interested in and the thought that I should probably sit down and write a query letter.

While that was going on, there was a new MSFV contest but since I didn’t feel ready I figured it would be wiser to sit that one out and enter the next one.

Then, you unveiled the agent. Ammi-Joan Paquette of the Erin Murphy Literary Agency was at the top of my dream agent list. Unfortunately, they’re not open to submissions and, since I hadn’t entered, I’d just blown my chance to get my brand-new manuscript to her.

This is where I still sometimes think I’m dreaming. You posted a lovely note from your ‘Secret Agent’ that she was so impressed with the quality of your contestants that she’d open for submissions to anyone who put MSFV in the subject line.

I didn’t even have a query letter to send her. I just threw something together and emailed it as quickly as possible, thinking ‘so many people were going to email her that I’d better be quick.’ So, I basically didn’t even edit my query letter, just sent it off.

An hour later, she wrote back asking to see the whole manuscript. A week later, she wrote back asking to talk on the phone. A week after that, she wrote one more time offering representation.

It might have then taken well over a year for that novel to sell, but Flux liked that query letter I threw together so much that seven years later it is still the blurb for the book on Amazon and other booksellers.

2. Tell us what your journey has looked like from your MSFV Success Story until now.

What a strange adventure. It has been a paradigm shift and life-altering in so many ways. I’ve had a poem performed on the BBC by the creative geniuses behind the music for Dr. Who. I’ve been nominated for a Bram Stoker award, the highest honor in my genre. I’ve mentored some brilliant teen writers and seen them experience their first taste of success in the industry. And I have made so many dear friends. It’s hard to believe, sometimes, that any of it is real.

I’ve had my oldest dreams come true. What more can I ask for?

3. What has been the best part of your experience as an author? What has been most difficult/challenging?

There’s something amazing about being interviewed or signing autographs and all those trappings of being an author.

But, the teaching, mentoring, helping other writers? That’s where the magic is. This community of creative artists, striving together to make the world a better place, one person, one act, one word at a time. It’s an amazing thing to be a part of.

I’ve been mentoring teen writers for a few years now, after spending a couple years as a judge for different competitions and awards. That’s been the best part. When one of the teens I mentored made her first professional sale, that was pretty incredible.

The most difficult is the fact that everything starts all over again. All the waiting and revising and hoping and praying and dreaming that goes into that first sale also goes into the next one. And the one after that. I’m still waiting for that third sale, and the same doubts are there from the decades I spent as pre-published. I work all the time to remember how fortunate I am to have two novels and three poetry collections published in the last 5 years. And work just as hard, if not harder, on whatever comes next.

4. What's your latest offering, and where can we find it?

For poetry, 2017 saw the release of my third collection, PseudoPsalms: Sodom, which is available wherever poetry is sold (mainly Amazon since poetry isn’t exactly a best-selling kind of thing). Even after publishing two novels, I still think of myself as a poet first. I’ve been writing poetry since I was in elementary school, and only started writing fiction in college.

I also will be re-releasing my first poetry collection, PseudoPsalms: Prophets, soon, (also available on Amazon, etc) since the publisher went out of business making the collection go out-of-print.

5. Please leave us with some words of wisdom for all aspiring authors.

Whenever I’m asked for words of wisdom I cringe inside. I’m just not so sure how wise I am. Then, being serious for a moment, I tell everyone the same thing: write, read, write some more, read some more. Then edit. Edit a lot. No, edit more.

But most of all: love the process. Love every single moment of it. Love the creative passion driving you to write. Love the drudgery of revision that you feel will never end. Love it no matter what.

Because there’s going to be a lot of it. You’ll edit and revise and do it all over again and finally land an agent and the first thing they’re going to ask for are more edits and revisions until finally you sell the book and, you guessed it, the first thing they’re going to ask for are more edits and revisions.

So, you might as well learn to love the process. You’ll be doing it a lot.

Then write more. Read more. Revise more. And love it all.

Especially that moment your phone rings and you hear the best word in the English language: ‘Sold.’

You’ll love that moment the most.